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Freud and the Scene of Trauma By John Fletcher

Freud and the Scene of Trauma by John Fletcher

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This book describes the centrality of trauma to Freud's thought, the moments of its apparent abandonment and later recurrences, from the seduction theory to the Death Drive. At these turning points Freud engages with the works of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Hoffmann and da Vinci as thought experiments in the imaginary space of literature and painting.

Freud and the Scene of Trauma Summary

Freud and the Scene of Trauma by John Fletcher

This book argues that Freud's mapping of trauma as a scene is central to both his clinical interpretation of his patients' symptoms and his construction of successive theoretical models and concepts to explain the power of such scenes in his patients' lives. This attention to the scenic form of trauma and its power in determining symptoms leads to Freud's break from the neurological model of trauma he inherited from Charcot. It also helps to explain the affinity that Freud and many since him have felt between psychoanalysis and literature (and artistic production more generally), and the privileged role of literature at certain turning points in the development of his thought. It is Freud's scenography of trauma and fantasy that speaks to the student of literature and painting.
Overall, the book develops the thesis of Jean Laplanche that in Freud's shift from a traumatic to a developmental model, along with the undoubted gains embodied in the theory of infantile sexuality, there were crucial losses: specifically, the recognition of the role of the adult other and the traumatic encounter with adult sexuality that is entailed in the ordinary nurture and formation of the infantile subject.

Freud and the Scene of Trauma Reviews

Fletcher offers a distinctly original reformulation of a psychoanalytic account of fantasy and memory, focusing on its belated and non-mimetic dimensions. This account has far-reaching consequences for the status and ethical value of psychoanalysis within contemporary intellectual life. . . . The chapters of this book are distinguished not only by their enormous theoretical power and precision, but by Fletcher's nearly uncanny ability to read both literary and theoretical texts with great powers of illumination and nuance. It is rare to find someone who combines his capacity for sustained and lucid abstract discussion with such a fine capacity for close textual reading.----Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley
There can be no doubt that this book will reward scholars across a number of disciplines: literary studies, trauma studies, psychoanalysis and psychology, and philosophy * -Choice Magazine *
This book is a gem. It is written on a number of levels: Freud's scholarship, literary scholarship, psychoanalytic scholarship, and psychology. It has depth and subtlety at the same time as providing a good read for a wide range of audiences. I recommend it wholeheartedly to students at all levels of seniority, including the most serious of scholars.----Peter Fonagy, University College London

About John Fletcher

John Fletcher is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Warwick.

Table of Contents

Foreword Section I The Power of Scenes Prologue Freud's Scenographies Chapter 1 Charcot's Hysteria: Trauma and the Hysterical Attack Chapter 2 Freud's Hysteria: " Scenes of Passionate Movement" Section II Memorial Fantasies, Fantasmatic Memories Chapter 3 The Afterwardsness of Trauma and the Theory of Seduction Chapter 4 Memory and the Key of Fantasy Chapter 5 The Scenography of Trauma: Oedipus as Tragedy and Complex Section III Screen Memories and the Return of Seduction Chapter 6 Leonardo's Screen Memory Chapter 7 Flying and Painting: Leonardo's rival sublimations Section IV Protoypes and the Primal Chapter 8 The Transference and its Prototypes Chapter 9 The Wolf Man I: Constructing the Primal Scene Chapter 10 The Wolf Man II: Interpreting the Primal Scene Section V Trauma and the Compulsion to Repeat Chapter 11 Trauma and the Genealogy of the Death Drive Chapter 12 Uncanny Repetitions Freud, Hoffmann and the Death-Work Epilogue

Additional information

Freud and the Scene of Trauma by John Fletcher
Fordham University Press
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